Students Spend Day On The Job

Students venture into business world during local Job Shadow Day


For 135 students in the Payson School District, Groundhog Job Shadow Day went by too quickly.

"I would love to do it again," Payson High School student Melissa Andrews said, "but I'm a senior."

The district's School-to-Work program sponsored the event last week as part of a national student field-work program that pairs employees and business people with students who are interested in similar professions.

Melissa wants to be a sports trainer. She spent the day shadowing Scott Nossek at Payson Physical Therapy, who showed her all kinds of therapy machines and exercises.

"I was having doubts about sports training," she said, "but after job shadowing him, I know that is what I want to do."

Another PHS senior, Laci Tomerlin, said she had thought about going into architectural engineering. But after spending the day shadowing Rex Hinshaw of Spragins and Hinshaw Architects, Laci changed her mind. "(Rex Hinshaw) swayed my mind to drawing and computer work," she said. "He explained about the different parts of architecture. It was a good experience and he told me things to do and not do to get where he is today.

"Doyle VanHorn, (another PHS student), and I also were introduced at Rotary Club and we learned about that club as well. It was a cool day."

Rim Country Middle School student Jeff Little was one of that school's three eighth-grade students who spent the day following Payson Police officers around.

Jeff and the other middle school students will get 20 school credits for participating in the national school event. A fourth student at the Payson Police Department, Nolan Blalock, a senior at Payson High School, will have to write a report on the day-long learning experience.

Each of the boys had their own reasons for choosing to spend the day with the police.

Nolan has an uncle who's a police officer.

"I'm definitely going into police work," he said. "Just regular patrol -- I've wanted to do that for a few years now because my uncle's a cop."

Jeff said his first interest is in joining the Air Force. Getting into police work runs a close second.

Jason Knoll said he thinks being a cop sounds exciting.

And Brian Langeliers wants to combine his interest in flying and police work to become a helicopter pilot for the police force.

Whatever their reasons, Payson Police Lt. Don Engler said he's always happy to hear that today's young people are interested in law enforcement.

"We have been having a hard time getting recruits for the police academy," Engler told the boys. "So we need to get you going."

Payson Police officer Donnie Garvin talked to the students about radio codes and how they're used for different situations.

Engler showed them the dispatch area and explained how the officers get the calls they respond to.

It was just 8 a.m. and some of the officers were already out on a report of an injury accident.

Engler said the officers might be late coming in to meet their Job Shadows because they'd have to clean up the glass and debris and wait for a tow truck.

Over at Manzanita Cyclery near the intersection of Highway 260 and Granite Dells Road, Jake Burdick, another eighth-grade student from RCMS, was busy helping the shop's owner, John Lake, replace the seat on a bicycle.

"Jake comes here a lot," Lake said. "He's here for parts."

Jake said he planned to repair bicycles for a living because he enjoys the work.

Payson High School junior Leticia Diaz and senior Donavan Muwere over at the Payson Fire Department on Main Street.

Leticia said she's considering being a paramedic, but she also likes law.

Both Leticia and Donavan trained as paramedics when they were students in Mexico.

Firefighter/paramedic Julie Morder said she was showing the students what a typical day is like at the fire station. She said she wanted the students to know "why we do these jobs and the kind of person it takes."

On the west side of town, at Rich Henry's hangar at his home on Red Baron Road near the airport, pilot Steve Vaught was preparing to take some aviation-interested students up in Henry's bright yellow Super Cub.

Eighth-grader student Matt Cluff was sitting in the plane, strapped in and ready for a ride, while eighth-graders Patrick Tate, Drew Melcher, and Chris Schroth helped push the plane out onto the street.

Vaught and Matt taxied to the nearby runway and were up in the air in just a few minutes. Later the others would take their turns taking off into the wild blue yonder.

"I thought the day was fun and exciting," Bryan Darrin, one of Henry's eight job shadows, said. "Being able to fly was the best part of the day."

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